Europe daily blog #8: Pragaluf?

The Astronomical Clock and Tyn Church are two of Prague's most recognisable landmarks.

The Astronomical Clock and Tyn Church are two of Prague's most recognisable landmarks.

Prague could be one of the very best. From the Astronomical Clock to the Charles Bridge, St Vitus’ Cathedral to the nuclear bunker and Zizkov Tower to the moving head of Franz Kafka, the city offers visitors a whole host of attractions to enjoy.

The head of Franz Kafka immortalised in the form of a moving statue. The famous Czech wrote novels and stories in the German language and was an important figure in 20th century literature.

The head of Franz Kafka immortalised in the form of a moving statue. The famous Czech wrote novels and stories in the German language and was an important figure in 20th century literature.

They also have great choices for restaurants, bars and clubs – the nightlife should be one of Prague’s best assets and from an economic standpoint, it most certainly is. Yet, ironically, it is also one of its worst hang-ups.

Having spent three nights in the Czech capital, we were on hand to experience Prague’s nightlife in full swing. Cheap prices, nice bars and a booming club scene, we did actually enjoy that aspect a great deal.

Enjoying hassle-free nightlife in Prague.

Enjoying hassle-free nightlife in Prague.

The problem? The people who sell it.

I’d heard about Prague’s stag do scene and its abundance of sex-themed clubs, looking to draw drunken tourists in for a good time.

We stayed just around the corner from Wenceslas Square, about a five minute walk up the long stretch of road to the outskirts of the centre.

There were a couple of bars along there that we tried, but getting closer to Old Town Square – the epicentre – proved to be a task.

Every five steps we would be approached. Whether it was men trying to drag us into whatever club, pub, stripper bar they could, or female prostitutes offering various sexual acts, it was a nightmare trying to fend them off. Naturally, it became tiring, just as it was in the day.

Old Town Square features two of Prague’s most iconic landmarks – the Astronomical Clock and Church of Our Lady before Tyn. On the hour, the Astronomical Clock, which is over 600 years old, draws hundreds of visitors to watch its quirky chimes and animated figurines.

Masses of people flock to the Astronomical Clock just before the hour to witness it chime.

Masses of people flock to the Astronomical Clock just before the hour to witness it chime.

The square itself houses some beautiful buildings, and there are plenty of restaurants where people can enjoy a feast or a tipple to the backdrop of street acts and Segways.

Yet what I wasn’t expecting was to be hassled by people in bright t-shirts selling bar crawl and boat party tickets.

For a second, it was if I’d travelled back in time three years to Magaluf, swarmed by reps who wanted to sell me tickets and pull you into whatever bar they were working for.

To see a city as reputable as Prague swarmed with commission-based vultures trying to flog people all kinds of stuff was disappointing, and definitely soured my impression of the place.

Although it is a great stag do destination, a lot of the groups ook entirely out of place and  alter the city's image. Image credit: Aidan McMichael/Flickr

Although it is a great stag do destination, a lot of the groups ook entirely out of place and  alter the city's image. Image credit: Aidan McMichael/Flickr

You get the odd one in other cities, take Kraków for example, but in Prague it is rife and definitely sullies its tone.

Yes, it’s cheap and, yes, it is a haven for stag and hen parties, but the city could definitely do more to make the way it all operates more classy and discreet – make it Prague, and not Pragaluf.

Despite the dampener, we were able to find some cool bars and enjoy our nights nevertheless. BarRock near Wenceslas Square was a great spot for some pre-drinks, and consuming Jägerbombs, beer and cocktails to hits like Hard Rock Hallelujah and Should I Stay or Should I Go? was a nice change of pace.

BarRock - a great place to get the alcohol flowing.

BarRock - a great place to get the alcohol flowing.

We also sampled the clubs, and enjoyed Friday night hotspot Roxy, which opened as late as 5am. With a reasonable entry fee of 150 CKZ (£5) and most drinks priced around the 70-95 CKZ mark (£2-£3), it was fantastic value for money.

Roxy - a club that really needs no promotion. A busy venue and reasonable prices make for a good night.

Roxy - a club that really needs no promotion. A busy venue and reasonable prices make for a good night.

With its house vibe, large dancefloor, awesome sound set and brilliant light display, Roxy provided us with a genuine slice of continental clubland.

The best thing about it? They didn’t have to sell it to us for us to go in. Prague one, Pragaluf nil.